oa The African Journal of Information and Communication - Mobile phone technology and reading behaviour on the FunDza programme

Volume 2015, Issue 15
  • ISSN : 2077-7205
  • E-ISSN: 2077-7213



South African learners generally perform badly on external tests of reading literacy. In the 2011 international Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), South African Grade 4 learners performed poorly in comparison with their international counterparts, especially on higher order comprehension (Howie, van Staden, Tshele, Dowse, & Zimmerman, 2012). The 2013 Annual National Assessments reported a national average percentage of 43% for Grade 9 learners in their home language and 35% in a first additional language, which often is English (Department of Basic Education, 2013). The Department's report recommended that learners be encouraged to read additional books, and more widely, to improve their scholastic attainment. There is much evidence to support the argument that reading for pleasure has a positive effect on both personal and educational development (e.g. Clark, 2011). Encouraging learners to engage in self-initiated reading as a leisure activity therefore may be positively related to reading literacy. Unfortunately, many South African learners attend schools with no libraries, and come from households without resources, including books, to promote reading (Howie et al., 2012).

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